If you want to get wider forearms you have to train the muscles in the forearm that are most responsible for their size. Often times, people fill their forearm workouts with nothing more than wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. This is just not going to cut it when it comes to building wide, muscular forearms. The biggest reason is, this approach doesn’t even account for the muscles of the forearm that have no impact on the motion of the wrist.
In this video, I’m going to show you the best forearm exercises to build thicker, wider forearms. Most of all, I’ll show you how to focus on the muscles of the forearm that are most easily able to add size and width due to their orientation in the lower arm.
But first, it’s important that you measure your forearms accurately. In other words, before you look at your skinny wrists and deem your ability to build big forearms as compromised, realize that the muscles of the lower arm become largely just tendons as you get close to the wrist. This means, even if you did all the right things with your workout for forearms, if you had small bones you wouldn’t have large wrists.The good news however is that if you do the right exercises for forearms you will see thicker, wider forearms.
That said, it’s time to build big forearms the right way.
If you want to build up the extensor component of the lower arm you need to perform the exercises that work both the ECR or extensor carpi radialis, and the brachioradialis. The irony behind these muscles is that the latter isn’t even technically a forearm muscle. Even more ironic is the fact that the brachioradialis is responsible for the majority of the size of the forearm in the extensor component. It traditionally is viewed as an elbow flexor muscle that works well with the brachialis and biceps.
So in order to accomplish growth here, you’re going to want to perform an exercise that involves elbow flexion. Ideally, you’ll want to do this from a pronated forearm position. This leads us to the reverse barbell curl. With the pronated arm position, the biceps is most diminished in the exercise, leaving the brachioradialis and brachialis to do more of the work.
The issue with this exercise is that it can be a tough position for some to get into due to limited wrist mobility. In this case, the EZ bar variation is ideal. It places the forearm into a less pronated, but still not supinated position that keeps the focus on the brachioradialis. But just doing this exercise for forearms isn’t enough since we can easily incorporate the ECR by just extending the wrists at the top of the rep.
As far as the range of motion of the reverse curl, there is something you want to consider here as well. First, in the fully lengthened position, the brachioradialis does not have as effective a line of pull as it does when the elbow is partially flexed. So, if you want to target this forearm muscle better, you’ll want to initiate each rep from a partially flexed elbow position.
The best way to do this is with the bar starting at the waistline and dragging it up the body as if doing a drag curl. This is going to produce an intense contraction in the brachioradialis and ECR all the way through the limited, but more effective range of motion of the rep.
In order to hit the underside of the forearm and get wider forearms from side to side you’re going to want to also perform another exercise. One of my favorites to do this is with the top down wrist curl. Here you let the cable handle (or band if you’re doing this at home) drift into the ends of your fingers. Start by clenching your hand and making a fist against the resistance of the weight. From here, continue the downward motion by performing a wrist curl.
You’ll find that by performing this in this way, you get an even more intense contraction than you would from the standard dumbbell wrist curls performed with the forearm resting on a bench.
If you want to build bigger forearms, the key is knowing which forearm exercises do the best job of targeting the most “space occupying” muscles of the lower arm. With these two moves you have a quick but effective combination that will help you get wider forearms and say goodbye to skinny arms once and for all.
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